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It’s not that long ago that Romford was an empty shell of a stadium with just a track that was in use 6 days a week but since late August last year with its excellent new grandstand and facilities completed the place is starting to get that special buzz it always had. The racing and competitions since then have been brilliant with an array of canine talent strutting their stuff, we ourselves have seen three fabulous competition winners in the shape of Aayamza Express (Champion Stakes), Bumblebee Bullet (TV Trophy) and more recently Antigua Rum (Coronation Cup) and last week the heats of the Coral Golden Sprint kicked off. Of all the competitions above this seems the most open one of them all as suggested by the ante post betting where it was virtually 10/1 the field. We managed to qualify two of our four entries with prolific winner Tiffield Blueboy taking a scrappy heat on Friday while the game Have A Brandy also qualified when 3rd in his heat, both have drawn trap 1 in their semi finals this Friday but will need to trap sharply to hold their positions on the rails, with so much pace on their outsides, I’m optimistic of getting at least one to the following week's Category 1 final. It’s sure to be another great night's action with a full 16 race card including three heats of a £4,000 to the winner British Bred Maiden event where we introduce our huge new talent Saffrons Xpress, the most exciting prospect my Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club has had for quite a while. It also has an excellent 575m event starting and added to that it's my daughter Emily’s 16th birthday and Romford have kindly put a race in her name and we have managed to get Emily’s lovely little bitch Far Froman Angel in the race though it looks a very hot bitches 400m. It’s not easy getting winners but we all thoroughly look forward to going every Friday, Mark Arkell the new Racing Manager always had a tough act to follow when taking over from the legendary Peter O'Dowd but is doing a fine job at Romford.
Antigua Breeze missed his break in the RPGTV Juvenile Championship race on Saturday at Sheffield and finished down the field where the superstar and Greyhound of the Year Ice On Fire took the honours for a delighted Jimmy Fenwick. Antigua Breeze was fine afterwards and hopefully his Derby credentials can get back on track quickly tomorrow when he runs at Hove. Ice On Fire is without doubt the dog we all have to beat for the Greyhound Derby which is looming large but equally I’ve been impressed by our own Antigua Romeo
who won a high class 500m race on the supporting card at Sheffield and in a slightly quicker time than Ice On Fire. Of course that was the first run of the year for Ice On Fire and improvement can be expected while our Winter Derby 3rd Antigua Romeo is as fit as a fiddle and leads this year's open race stats with a six from eight record including three fastest times of the year so far but the fact that Ice On Fire is as short as 8/1 in most bookmakers ante post prices to win our Blue Riband event and Antigua Romeo is as big as 100/1 suggests to me we have value in abundance. A quarter finalist in last year's Derby at Nottingham, when only a pup, he has since improved out of sight and I for one would not put anyone off investing a few shillings on our four bend star, he will be one of the favourites for the Steel City Cup starting this Saturday and win in this event would surely see his Derby odds tumble, Coolavanny Messi is our only other entry at Sheffield.
We are blessed with a tremendous strength of stayers as our recent 2nd/3rd/4th finish in the Golden Jacket final suggests plus we have some cracking young talent coming through like Aayamza Royale so we are very much looking forward to defending our Regency title at Hove when it gets underway in a couple of weeks. The brilliant and versatile Aayamza Breeze won last year and the likes of Antigua Fire and Avastorm as well as Aayamza Royale should go well this time. Also it’s great to see our TV Trophy winner Bumblebee Bullet back trialling (an excellent 35.26 spin at Romford yesterday) from a seasonal break and I’m expecting an awesome year for her, the Regency is her first target as she runs Hove fantastically well which is great as her main target this year will be the defence of the TV Trophy staged at Hove later this year. We could well see some mouth watering clashes over the trip with the current Marathon performer of the Year in 2019 Mick’s Little Gem but I’ve no doubt Bumblebee Bullet will improve again this year and will be tough to beat over the extended distances.
A tough night at Romford on Friday where we weren’t as lucky as other Fridays but as said Tiffield Blueboy (24.50) won his heat of the Golden Sprint and Have A Brandy. Initially I was disappointed that Playbook was only second in Friday Night 500m Maidens Final when favourite but the winner Long Lincoln took off (3.62 split) beating her by 2 3/4 lengths in a flying 23.88 bettered only by Magical Houdini (23.82) in the Golden Sprint heats so it was still a very good run from Playbook, not much luck elsewhere on the night.
As said at Sheffield Antigua Romeo won a 500m race in great style in a calculated 28.64 while at Monmore we had three runners who had mixed fortunes. Antigua Sands comfortably took a Maiden 630m in 38.04 while the odds on Coolavanny Messi ran well in a 480m but had to settle for the runners up spot, in a very good 630m race our Champion Stakes winner Aayamza Express was bowled over at the first bend in a race won by the flying Roman Empire but thankfully picked herself up and completed the course and seems ok afterwards.
On Tuesday morning Ice Cool Ellis scorched round in a career best 28.12 winning an A6 by over 6 lengths and Deans Hail Mary bounced back winning an A4 beating kennelmate Ping Be Slick by 2 1/2 lengths in a good 27.91. In the evening No Can Boogie and Saleen Again both ran well chasing home Savana Me Daddy in a good S1 won in 33.61, Calco Dare won well in an S2 leading all the way to win well in 33.97, Algo For You came back to his very best winning a good A3 in a flying 27.63 beating kennelmate Jesses Sister by 3 3/4 lengths.
On Friday Domino Charm was best of a few runners when second in an A10 while we had another good day on Saturday. Jaxx Purple won again with an excellent display in an A4 by over 3 lengths in 27.91 and at last Saffrons Tiger scored that debut victory winning well in an A7 in 28.14. Agincourt Xena
on debut looked to have a reasonable chance in an A8 but I must admit to not expecting her to win so well, leading at half way she flew round to win by 6 lengths in an excellent 28.32 certainly causing a headache on who to give the graded performance of the week to this week!
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - ANTIGUA ROMEO
GRADED - AGINCOURT XENA
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
We have a few decent runners at Hove this Thursday as the Regency approaches and we have a busy night on Friday at Romford including the Coral Golden Sprint semi finals.
We are also at Sheffield on Saturday as the Steel City Cup heats get underway.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
No luck with Antigua Breeze in the RPGTV Juvenile on Saturday but our ante post selection in the Golden Sprint at Romford Tiffield Blueboy won a scrappy heat but has drawn trap 1 in a good semi final, he’s not without hope of making it to the final the following Friday.
Antigua Romeo is likely to be one of the favourites for the Steel City Cup that starts at Sheffield on Saturday but is certainly worthy of a reasonable bet the way he is running at the moment.
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 2.5 pts ew ante post - Steel City Cup - Sheffield - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA BREEZE - 2 pts win - RPGTV Juvenile - Sheffield - Saturday - lost
TIFFIELD BLUEBOY - 1.5 pts win ante post 33/1 - Coral Golden Sprint - Romford- semi finals Friday